Class A Faith Warriors plow on
TAMPA — Last season Bayshore Christian was knocked from the playoffs by Bradenton Christian. This season, the Faith Warriors swept the Panthers 25-19, 26-24, 25-18 to reach the region final.
The Faith Warriors and Panthers were in the same district this season, with the Faith Warriors holding a 3-1 advantage.
"After the district finals we knew we would see them again," coach Melanie Humenansky said. "The home court was huge because our won-loss record in Bradenton isn't as positive."
"Home court was a big advantage," Panthers coach Greg Geraldson said. "In our gym we beat them 3-0."
Bayshore Christian welcomed back Gabby Fernandez from a two-week absence (shoulder) and she loomed large over the entire match, recording 16 kills. Valencia King chipped in with 12 kills and five blocks. Amanda Mirabella added 26 assists.
"Not having (Fernandez) for two weeks enabled the rest of the team to believe in themselves," Humenansky said. "Bringing (Fernandez) back made us better than we have been all season."
The second match was the closet of the night. Just when it seemed the Faith Warriors would cruise, the Panthers fought back to take a 24-23 lead before a controversial kill by Mirabella tied the game. King again closed out the match with a block and a kill.
Nathan Cowan, Times correspondent